Recent Blog Articles

Diseases & Conditions

Why wound healing gets harder as we age

October 01, 2018

Controlling underlying conditions and watching for early signs of trouble can go a long way toward prevention.

l1018f16207257682871
 Image: © travenian/Getty Images

When you skinned your knee as a kid, the scrape healed on its own with little more than a bandage and mom's TLC. Now that you're older, wounds can take much longer to heal — sometimes many months. "The body's capacity to repair the skin diminishes as we get older. There aren't as many growth factors and stem cells in the skin. Chronic disease, especially blood vessel disease, and malnutrition can also slow the healing process," says Dr. Dennis Orgill, a surgeon and medical director of the Wound Care Center at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Stubborn wounds

Wounds that resist healing may result from radiation (for cancer treatment) or injuries due to falls. But the following tend to be the most common reasons for a wound to get out of hand.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.